Journaling Methods to Help with Anxiety

Anxiety means having a lot of troubling, worrisome thoughts racing in your head. If you do not find a healthy outlet for those thoughts, you might feel like you are going to explode one day.  By using different journaling methods to clear your mind, you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders and can help you better treat your anxiety.

One method of journaling is writing down all of the troubling thoughts that are weighing down in your mind. Write down everything that is stressing you out and making you feel overwhelmed. If after writing this list you start to feel your anxiety symptoms kicking in, take a break by walk around the room for a little bit and take a drink of water. Look back at your list and ask yourself if any of these items truly do apply to you.  For example, you may have written down that you feel like everyone at work does not like you and is talking about you behind your back. Ask yourself what evidence you have of this and if it is valid. If this is true, write down what plan to do to ensure that you feel comfortable at work such as speaking with your boss or talking to human resources. Maybe you will look back at your evidence and realize that it is trivial and that you are worrying over nothing. If this item that you wrote in your journal is false, cross it off.

A second method of journaling is free writing. This is when you take a blank sheet of paper and just write down all the thoughts that are swimming in your head whether they are good or bad. Do not worry about grammar, spelling, or if anything you write down makes sense. You are right now making a visualization of your thoughts. You may be used to hearing them in your head but you do not see what they look like. Just make small talk about your day in this blank sheet of paper just like you would tell anyone else that you trusted. Re-read what you write down and see if in any of these thoughts you can pinpoint where the source of your anxiety comes from. It may be in a place that you did not know about whether it is work, a certain person in your life, finances, your marriage, children, etc.

A third method of journaling is making a to-do list of small things that you know you can accomplish today. There may have been times where you feel like a failure because you feel like you have not achieved your long-term goals yet. But, it is important to remember about all of the things that you have accomplished so far. The small things that you do today can lead to bigger things later. So, get in the habit of making a checklist of all of the things that you plan to accomplish today. It can be things like taking a shower, making breakfast, feeding the dog, getting your groceries, walking around the block, cleaning your room, paying your bills, etc.

The fourth method of journaling is writing a letter to someone that you will never send. There may be certain people in your life that increase your anxiety symptoms like if someone is never listening to any advice that you give them or are putting a lot of pressure on you to be perfect. Instead of keeping all of your emotions about this person bottled up, you can write down everything you are feeling in a letter so that you can let everything off of your chest. You will feel much more relaxed about this person the next time you see them, knowing that everything is out in the open even if they do not see your letter. You can also write a letter to someone that you hold in high regard but have trouble talking to because you get so nervous around them. You can write down all of your thoughts and feelings about this person and what you wish you can say in a letter. Maybe this will increase your confidence to say some of these things the next time you see that person.

One last method of journaling can be writing about a reflection of a photo that really resonates with you. Look on your phone, old scrapbooks, and photo albums that are around your house and find the photo that really has an effect on you. It can be a photo that makes you happy, laugh out loud, or makes you feel sad. You can find a picture of you as a child, a photo of you with people you care about, or maybe you are not even in the picture at all. Any picture that makes you feel any emotion is worth writing about. Maybe you see a picture of yourself with your dog and realize just how much he means to you. Maybe you look at a picture of your family together from before you were born and feel envious about how they look without you. You may discover new things about yourself in each picture you write about. Journal writing is an effective way to relieve yourself of your anxiety symptoms by letting all of your thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto paper.

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